When it comes to umbilical cord, the rule of thumb is to leave it well enough alone.
The umbilical cord provided nutrients during pregnancy to your baby. Once your baby arrives, the cord is cut and clamped off. The stump left behind does not cause your baby any pain.
As you are advised to try to keep the cord dry, your baby cannot take a bath until her umbilical cord falls off (you’ll want to give her sponge baths, as opposed to full immersion baths, anyway). That can take between two weeks to a month to happen.
Umbilical cord care has transitioned significantly over the years. Your mother may have been sent home with a dye solution to apply to your cord. This would cause it to fall off in a week.
However, in more recent times, some hospitals advised new mothers to apply alcohol to the cord site. This dries out the cord in roughly two weeks so it can fall off.
But now many hospitals instruct new mothers to leave the cord completely alone and let it fall off all by itself. This can take a month for the cord to fall off so you can give baby a bath. In the meantime, keep your baby’s nappy folded well down so that the cord is exposed to the air, which will help with drying. Also, keeping the nappy folded down will avoid it hitting the cord and pushing it away prematurely. As always, common sense applies, and if you notice anything more than very slight bleeding you should get it checked out.
If the cord has not fallen away within about six weeks, check with you nurse or doctor.